JULY 2, 2005
Posted: July 22, 2005

Wong Yuk-man, Commercial Radio

Hong Kong’s Commercial Radio terminated the contract of popular radio host Wong Yuk-man. Local supporters say that political pressure played a part in the decision to fire the host, known for his outspoken criticism of local pro-Beijing politicians.

Wong returned to hosting a radio show at Commercial Radio in October 2004 after he quit his show “Close Encounters of a Political Kind” in May 2004, citing concerns for his safety after unidentified assailants attacked him and vandalized his noodle shop. Wong told reporters later that while hosting “Close Encounters of a Political Kind,” he had refused money offered to him by pro-Beijing businessmen to go off the air.

Within weeks of Wong’s leaving the station last May, two other radio hosts of the controversial “Teacup in a Storm” program also left their positions, citing political pressure. That show was taken off the air.

While “Close Encounters of a Political Kind” had aired five times a week, Wong’s new show aired only on Saturdays. The station’s general manager Rita Chan told local reporters that Wong’s termination was due to a contractual dispute arising from the host’s expectation that he would return to a five-day slot.

Wong says the station had previously agreed to that request, and believes that his criticism of the station’s coverage of the election of Donald Tsang played a role in his termination.

Thousands of Wong’s supporters, including former “Teacup in a Storm” radio host and current legislator Albert Cheng King-hon, demonstrated for the right of free speech at a candlelight vigil in central Hong Kong on July 16.